BPPV and other stuff


My name is Nick and I’m a newbie here to this site. I was recently diagnosed with BPPV a few months ago and I was wondering if BPPV can be related to MAV in some way or another. I feel that as I treat myself with these home exercises for BPPV, that nothing really helps on some days. I do have a history of migraine headaches, and sometimes I will have all of the effects of a full blown “headache” without feeling the actual pain, such has light hurting my eyes and blurred vision before I would get an actual headache. I seriously feel that there is more of an underlying cause to my symptoms than just plain BPPV. Becoming anxious and panicking about the dizzy spells makes me even more dizzy than how I was feeling before. However, I am working on going to a doctor to get some kind of medication to stop that these panic attacks.

My main question is, where do I start and where do I go from here to start my journey to feel better?

Welcome Nick,

You are exactly where I was about six months ago: A guy with a history of migraine headaches who had been diagnosed with BPPV by my GP, Neurologist, and ENT. I was told to do physical therapy, which I did, and I was told that it would definitely get better and be gone after four months. It never really got better other than a tiny bit each month (say 4% better each month). Finally after six months of 24/7 dizziness, the doctors finally admitted that maybe I don’t have BPPV and it might be vestibular neuritis or MAV. That is when I came to this board to expore alternative diagnoses and treatment possibilities.

For your sake, I hope it is BPPV and that it goes away. If not, it might be vestibular neuritis or MAV, which have a different treatment plan. Or you could have some combination of these – for example, like in my case, you could have an episode of vestibular neuritis that loosens the crystals in your ear and creates BPPV vertigo followed by months of unsteadiness. Most people on this board are not really sure what they have, but it is some combination of migraine, vestibular disorder, nerve damage, and anxiety caused by the condition.

Your steps should be:

  1. Get as many tests as possible – brain MRI with and without contrast; audiology for hearing to rule out Meniere’s Disease; full range of dizziness testing (water in the ear test, etc), blood test for thyroid, lyme disease, etc.
  2. For the anxiety, consider taking some pill, either a benzo or an anti-depressant (both have upsides and downsides)
  3. Stick around, read the links.

Thanks for your advice and kindness, longshort.

I plan on sticking around for a bit (:

Regarding the BPPV - seems like I have good days and then I have bad days. I do all of the head exercises and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time, I’m left over with a general unbalanced feeling and sometimes I can get much dizzier from how I would “normally” feel. I do get migraines, at least an episode every three months, but I only have the veritgo(spinning) sensation last for a few hours. I just hate this lightheaded feeling.

How do you get rid of the brain fog/confusion feeling? I feel at times that I can’t really focus at all. Almost everyday I can drive and feel perfectly fine, and then when I have a vertigo attack, I can’t drive at all.

I already made an appointment with a shrink, and I would’ve made one later this year, as my seasonal affective disorder drove me nuts this past winter.

Is it actually possible for anxiety to cause dizziness and vertigo?

Thanks for your comments, I look forward to communicating with fellow sufferers on this site who are on a path to a cure.

Hi Mancan,

BPPV and migraine are most definitely related. Migraineurs experience BPPV at a rate 3X greater than any other group. BPPV can also occur as a result of VN as my doctor indicated though I have not seen this in the literature. Here’s the story:

  1. If you had VN and/or BPPV without migraine as a complicating co-factor you should get over these conditions within a relatively short time frame. For some there may be issues with compensation and perhaps poor eye sight making compensation difficult but overall, they are self-limiting. To give you an example, I met a lady Friday night who’d had a BPPV attack. It was severe but she was over it entirely in 2 weeks. She still feels her balance isn’t quite what it was before the incident but it barely registers.

  2. Contrast the above with a person who is a migraineur and an attack of BPPV (because of the migraine status) or from VN and this sort of event can constitute a “Big Bang” event which throws the migraineur into a chronic state of dizziness, illness and misery. So migraine acts as a complicating co-factor and the individual does not recover until the migriane is reined in. Prof Halmagyi once remarked to me that the patient who has had a BPPV attack and is sitting in his chair (because a GP couldn’t solve it) is almost always a migraineur.

That’s really all there is to this. If you haven’t compensated and feel as though you are perpetually ill, I would bet the farm that migraine is the culprit.

Best … Scott

Hi and welcome to the site :slight_smile:

My situation was just like the 2) that Scott describes. I’d had normal headache migraines since I was a teenager, and had had a few mild attacks of vertigo a few years ago, which always totally resolved within a few days. Then I got BPPV and it was BANG! Although the intense positional vertigo settled within a few days I was left with a load of other problems (primarily feelings of false motion when I was still, and massive problems with motion sickness or anything over-stimulating my vision) which lasted months and months. They only subsided once I was on migraine medication. I can’t say I am 100% but I have days when I feel normal, and I have got back to doing nearly everything I did before this all kicked off.

Hi Beechleaf – your situ is textbook stuf really isn’t it? There was a girl on another forum I used to visit years ago called Firechick. She was a fire fighter and one day got hit with BPPV. The initial hard core stuff went after a few days but she was left with residual motion problems and dysequilibrium that caused her to go on sick leave for months on end. In the end I’m pretty sure she went on some sort of medication and before long she was back at work though never quite the same 100% before the attack.

Scott 8)

Scott -

thanks for your reply dude - I am absolutely positively sure that this is all migraine related in some way or another. My dad gets migraines(sometimes dizzy spells with them) and his mother gets them much worse. My older brother also gets them, but no dizziness. Unfortunately, I have the dizziness that comes along with it.

On a side note -

I noticed that Magnesium is a good treatment for MAV/Vertigo/Dizziness. I stopped taking Magnesium about 2 1/2 weeks ago since I ran out, and I now have an idea why my dizziness has been worse lately. One of those things when you’re in college 2 hours away from home and no extra money and vitamin store nearby…lol.

So after my initial BPPV attack, I still had the same general unbalanced feeling that I had always had ever since May 1998. But the disequilibrium never really bothered me and I always did well having a “normal” life, and the unbalanced feeling never really stopped me from doing anything. I’m 25, and I’ve done pretty good getting to where I’m at today. I’m trying to become a lineman, and hopefully someone at the power company hires me when I graduate college. Funny tidbit - being up high in a bucket truck doesn’t make me dizzy. Put me on a boat - I’ll be dizzy in a few minutes lol.

These past few years, I occasionally get hit with the brain fog(which always goes away), and head throbbing feeling randomly(feels like an ordinary headache to me).

I thank you all for your replies and insights. I wish you all the best of luck to find a cure and successful treatment.

PS. NEVER eat 6-foot tapes of Hubba Bubba Gum, within one hour no matter how DELICIOUS it may be - (aspartame is evil!)

— Begin quote from “theogdenmancan”

PS. NEVER eat 6-foot tapes of Hubba Bubba Gum, within one hour no matter how DELICIOUS it may be - (aspartame is evil!)

— End quote

Ugh, that’s not delicious that’s gross :lol:

Scott - yes, I think I am pretty much a textbook case, although I still find it a bit hard to get acceptance that this is what’s wrong with me, despite that! Firechick is rather a more glamorous name than Beechleaf. Maybe I should reinvent myself…